The first time I went to Palm Springs, CA was to go to the Palm Springs Film Festival, which was organized by someone I did an indie movie starring very famous people. Like Marissa Berenson was the lead, and the guy playing her husband was in “The Truman Show” as Jim Carrey’s dad and shushed me when I said I didn’t like Laura Linney’s hyper-articulated acting style. (He said she was so lovely. And I didn’t like her acting at the time of “the Truman Show,” but I am freaking obsessed with her now. Have you seen her Lady MacBeth turn in ” Ozarks”? Please. Like she does have this weird, stylized way of talking, but man, does she connect with her material. I bow down.) I was the maid having an affair with this white guy I just mentioned, and this film festival founder was like Marissa’s therapist or something in the film. Man, I had no idea how famous these people were. I was just bopping around my own business, going to wardrobe, getting weird like dust applied to my eyelashes to give the mascara more real estate to land upon, looking quizzically at the camera dude who said “Wow, Korean people are so pretty!” (like what was that? Was that flirting? Should I have tried to “get with that”? Humans are sometimes totally perplexing to me.)
This Palm Springs guy said “oh you should come out to the festival!” I don’t think he meant it. It was just like a nice thing to say to someone, but that year, I had broken up with my boyfriend of four years, whom I had loved for so long, since high school. So I decided, yes, I should go. I shaped like a post-breakup, independent woman itinerary. Yeah! Look how bad ass I am! I booked a flight, hotel. Headed to the West Coast on my own. First part of the trip, Palm Springs, me alone; then later in the week, an old college friend, whom I used to be close to who then had become weird towards me, was going to visit with her boyfriend.
It was a terrible idea. I don’t like to drive, so I bought tickets to films and went alone. The only people who walked were homeless people and people who were out jogging. I’d get to films, the only one who arrived by foot, sweaty. Then I’d walk back to the hotel and cry. I was so desperately lonely. I had not known that’s how I would feel post-breakup. I hadn’t experience many relationships. I’d call my poor parents at night and weep and say how lonely I was, and they were upset with their helplessness.
But then things got easier. The film festival owner was a very kind man. He and his wife kind of took me under their wing, on what was probably the most insanely busy week of their year. I got tickets to the festival’s like most exclusive pic, a lesbian love story called “Aimee and Jaguar” and the festival guy’s wife drove me. I just took the kindness for granted, as a young, inexperienced person would. But when I look back on it now, I so greatly appreciate their kindness. Humans can be so incredibly lovely at times.
The last bit of my trip, my old college friend came to visit. Things had not warmed between us necessarily, but she enjoyed making fun of her boyfriend (now her husband). I remember how he would drive us to movies but in order to get the most affordable (free) parking spot, he had kept a bike in the trunk. He’d drop us off and pick us up, but bike to his car. She has since married him and had four children, and by all social media accounts, seems fine. We were so close freshman year and then she had to leave because of a medical condition. She was distant when she returned and we never returned to that closeness.
Anyway, tonight, I remembered that intense loneliness I had felt as a young person, and though sometimes when you’re young adult, you don’t want the comfort of your parents, I called them anyway. It didn’t comfort me at the time, but tonight, I recall that time with great fondness for the people all three of us were.